Inspired from the assortment of other 'Tips for golfing in language xyz'. As usual, please only suggest tips that are specific to OCaml and not programming in general. One tip per answer please.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Mind if I add a few obvious tips? \$\endgroup\$
    – Édouard
    Sep 28, 2015 at 23:39

4 Answers 4


Use functions instead of match

let rec f=function[]->0|_::t->1+f t

is shorter than

let rec f x=match x with[]->0|_::t->1+f t

Never use begin […] end


begin […] end 

is always synonymous with this:


Define several variables or functions at once

Thanks to tuples, you can define several variables at once. And as functions are first-class citizens…:

let f,g=(fun x->x+1),fun x->2*x

You can’t, however, write:

let f,g=(fun x->x+1),fun x->2*f x

Error: Unbound value f

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid the issue by using rec:

let rec f,g=(fun x->x+1),fun x->2*f x

Error: Only variables are allowed as left-hand side of let rec


Exploit curryied functions

Functions in OCaml are curryied. It might be useful to exploit that fact sometimes.

let n y=f x y

can be written

let n=f x

If you need arithmetic operations, you can surround them with parentheses so they behave like standard, prefix functions. (+), (-), …

let n=(+)1;;
n 3;;

- : int = 4


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