Mixfix Operators

A name containing one or more name parts and one or more _ can be used as an operator where the arguments go in place of the _. For instance, an application of the name if_then_else_ to arguments x, y, and z can be written either as a normal application if_then_else_ x y z or as an operator application if x then y else z.


_and_ : Bool  Bool  Bool
true and x = x
false and _ = false

if_then_else_ : {A : Set}  Bool  A  A  A
if true then x else y = x
if false then x else y = y

_⇒_   : Bool  Bool  Bool
true  ⇒ b = b
false ⇒ _ = true


Consider the expression true and false false. Depending on which of _and_ and _⇒_ has more precedence, it can either be read as (false and true) false = true, or as false and (true false) = true.

Each operator is associated to a precedence, which is an integer (can be negative!). The default precedence for an operator is 20.

If we give _and_ more precedence than _⇒_, then we will get the first result:

infix 30 _and_
-- infix 20 _⇒_ (default)

p-and : {x y z : Bool}   x and y ⇒ z  ≡  (x and y) ⇒ z
p-and = refl

e-and : false and true ⇒ false  ≡  true
e-and = refl

But, if we declare a new operator _and’_ and give it less precedence than _⇒_, then we will get the second result:

_and’_ : Bool  Bool  Bool
_and’_ = _and_
infix 15 _and’_
-- infix 20 _⇒_ (default)

p-⇒ : {x y z : Bool}   x and’ y ⇒ z  ≡  x and’ (y ⇒ z)
p-⇒ = refl

e-⇒ : false and’ true ⇒ false  ≡  false
e-⇒ = refl


Consider the expression true false false. Depending on whether _⇒_ is associates to the left or to the right, it can be read as (false true) false = false, or false (true false) = true, respectively.

If we declare an operator _⇒_ as infixr, it will associate to the right:

infixr 20 _⇒_

p-right : {x y z : Bool}   x ⇒ y ⇒ z  ≡  x ⇒ (y ⇒ z)
p-right = refl

e-right : false ⇒ true ⇒ false  ≡  true
e-right = refl

If we declare an operator _⇒’_ as infixl, it will associate to the left:

infixl 20 _⇒’_

_⇒’_ : Bool  Bool  Bool
_⇒’_ = _⇒_

p-left : {x y z : Bool}   x ⇒’ y ⇒’ z  ≡  (x ⇒’ y) ⇒’ z
p-left = refl

e-left : false ⇒’ true ⇒’ false  ≡  false
e-left = refl

Ambiguity and Scope

If you have not yet declared the fixity of an operator, Agda will complain if you try to use ambiguously:

e-ambiguous : Bool
e-ambiguous = true ⇒ true ⇒ true
Could not parse the application true ⇒ true ⇒ true
Operators used in the grammar:
  ⇒ (infix operator, level 20)

Fixity declarations may appear anywhere in a module that other declarations may appear. They then apply to the entire scope in which they appear (i.e. before and after, but not outside).