Accepted answer

I've found a workaround:

class Greetings(implicit val greetings: String = "hello") {
    def say(name: String): String = greetings + " " + name 

Like this I can have a default value and override it if I want:

new Greetings().say("loic")                     //> res0: String = hello loic

implicit val greetings = "hi"                   //> greetings  : java.lang.String = hi
new Greetings().say("loic")                     //> res1: String = hi loic

new Greetings()("coucou").say("loic")           //> res2: String = coucou loic

Note: new Greetings()("coucou") is working, not new Greetings("coucou") , because of a syntax strangeness explained here.


It is a bad idea to use such a general type as String in an implicit. The main reason is that implicit lookup is solely base on the type, so what if someone else defines another implicit value of type String? You might end up with a conflict. So you should define your own specific type for your own purpose (a simple wrapper around String).

Another reason is that when looking for implicit values, the compiler will look (among other places) into the companion object (if any) of the implicit value type. You can easily see how useful it is, as the companion object is the natural place to put a default implicit value (as in your case). But if the implicit value is of a type that you don't own (such as String) you just cannot write a companion object for it, while with your own wrapper type there is no problem.

OK, enough verbiage, here is how you can do it:

case class Greetings( value: String ) {
  override def toString = value
object Greetings {
  // this implicit is just so that we don't have to manually wrap 
  // the string when explicitly passing a Greetings instance
  implicit def stringToGreetings( value: String ) = Greetings( value ) 

  // default implicit Greetings value
  implicit val greetings: Greetings ="hello"

  def say(name: String)(implicit greetings: Greetings): String = greetings + " " +name 

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