What Does ETA Mean in a Text?

homesearch eETA

The Quick Answer

ETA means "Estimated Time Of Arrival," "Electronic Travel Authorization," and "Euskadi Ta Askatasuna."

Estimated Time Of Arrival

ETA is an abbreviation most commonly used with the meaning "Estimated Time Of Arrival." This is the date and time at which an object or person in transit is expected to arrive at a point, which may or may not be the final destination, e.g., "This bus goes to New York via Baltimore (ETA 2:00 pm) and Philadelphia (ETA 4:00 pm). Its ETA in New York is 5:40 pm." Although, in this context ETA, is a formal abbreviation commonly used in the transport industry and military, it is also widely used by the general public. Of note, ETA is sometimes expanded as "Expected Time Of Arrival."

Electronic Travel Authorization

The abbreviation ETA also means "Electronic Travel Authorization." This is an authorization that is electronically linked to a traveler's passport and that allows entry without a visa for foreign nationals visiting or transiting through certain participating countries, including Canada and Australia.

Euskadi Ta Askatasuna

ETA is also an acronym which stands for "Euskadi Ta Askatasuna" (in English, "Basque Country and Freedom"). ETA is an armed separatist movement that seeks independence for the Basque regions of northern Spain and southwestern France.

A Video Summary

Here is a short video summarizing this entry on ETA.

Image for ETA

When I write ETA, I mean this:

meaning of ETA

ETA is widely used to mean Estimated Time Of Arrival.

Summary of Key Points

First Definition of ETA

"Estimated Time of Arrival" is, by far, the most common meaning for ETA when it is used in a text. (Bear in mind that it could have another meaning if used in a different context.)
Definition:Estimated Time of Arrival
Guessability:guessability level 1
1: Easy to guess
Typical Users:typical user

Adults and Teenagers

Second Definition of ETA

"Electronic Travel Authorization" is another common definition for ETA.
Definition:Electronic Travel Authorization
Guessability:guessability level 4
4: Difficult to guess
Typical Users:typical user


Third Definition for ETA

ETA are also the initials of the "Basque Separatist Movement."
Definition:Basque Separatist Movement
Guessability:guessability level 4
4: Difficult to guess
Typical Users:typical user


Examples of ETA in Sentences

Here are examples of ETA in conversations:
  • Enquirer: Mr Connery, what is the ETA for your arrival at Wimbledon?
  • Sean Connery: Tennish.
  • Reporter: The Basque separatist group ETA is demanding talks with the Spanish government.

An Academic Look at ETA

When used with the meanings "Estimated Time Of Arrival" or "Electronic Travel Authorization," ETA is an initialism abbreviation. This means that it is pronounced using its individual letters (i.e., Eee Tee Ay). When used with the meaning "Euskadi Ta Askatasuna," ETA is an acronym (pronounced "E-tah"). Acronyms are abbreviations spoken like words.

What Did We Say before Texting and Social Media?

Before the digital era, we would have just said something like "expected time of arrival" or "scheduled arrival time" instead of using the abbreviation ETA to mean "Estimated Time Of Arrival."

Example of ETA Used in a Text

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