What Does "ETA" Mean? Definition and Example Use (2022)

What does ETA mean? Does it mean Eat Tomorrow Again? Does it mean something inappropriate? Should I use it while at work? If you've received a message with the acronym "ETA," it can be confusing to understand the full meaning.

Learn what "ETA" means in this short guide...

ETA meaning

"ETA" definition and meaning

"ETA" simply means, "Estimated Time of Arrival." The abbreviation was first used in the airline industry. For example, when the flight was arriving soon, it would say "ETA" and then have the estimated time of arrival.

For example, "Our ETA is around 5pm tonight."

ETA getting used in a text message between two people

History of "ETA"

The origin of "ETA" is primarily from the airline industry. Urban Dictionary dates the use of the abbreviation as an internet slang term back to 2006. While "ETA" is more literal than other internet slang terms, it is still confusing for those who are receiving it in a text message for the first time.

Other definitions and meanings

  • Edited to add (less common)
  • Estimated time approximately (far less common)
  • The seventh letter of the Greek alphabet (not typically used in text conversations)
  • Electric Travel Authority (Australia)

Other historical references

Greek origin: Greek ēta of Phoenician origin Hebrew ḥêt heth

"Euskadi Ta Akatasuna", or Eta (pronounced "eh-ta"). A paramilitary organization based in northern Spain which uses terrorism to push for Basque independence.

Examples of "ETA" getting used in a text message

Here are examples of the acronym "ETA" getting used in text message conversations:

Example one

Friend 1: "Hey, what's your ETA?"

Friend 2: "Probably around 6pm tonight!"

In this example, the first friend is asking the other friend when they are going to arrive. They can use the letter acronym in a sentence or question.

Example two

Friend 1: "Hey, dropping you a text message to know we are driving tonight. Our ETA is about 6 hours."

Friend 2: "Okay, thank you for letting me know."

This second example shows a friend using the abbreviation "ETA" as a way of saving time in keystrokes and from having to type out the entire phrase, "estimated time of arrival."

ETA getting used as a question in a text message conversation

Similar short forms and abbreviations

Here are other similar short forms related to "ETA":

TAT: Which stands for, "Turn Around Time." Turnaround time refers to the amount of time a project, task, or initiative could take to complete.

Common FAQ's

Questions from those using "ETA" in conversations:

Is ETA or TAT used in corporate America?

Yes. Both of these abbreviations are commonly used in a business setting. And are appropriate to use amongst teams. For example, using the acronym in a Slack message or Microsoft teams message.

Short form and slang guides

Other short form and slang guides to help understand acronyms used by friends:

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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