The entities attacking Nerv and also attempting to reach Lilith are universally described as "Angels" in the English dubs, subs and translations the the NGE manga.

In Japanese, the opening tune ("Cruel Angel"s Thesis") does describe tenshi (天使) which equates smoothly into "angel" in English (literally "heavenly messenger"), but this term does no seem to show up in the TV series, EoE, Rebuild movies or manga. For this reason what Japanese term(s) are offered to define them, what do they mean, and also why to be they analyzed as "angels" because that Anglo audiences?

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These organisms space categorized as 「使徒」(shito) an interpretation "apostle" in Japanese sources. Shito is the word provided in the Japanese translate in of the Christian scriptures to express to human being who possess the spiritual gift the Apostle (this different from the word offered to describe all of Jesus" followers, i m sorry is 「弟子」 <deshi>, the very same word supplied for disciples of Confucius and other renowned historical figures).

Curiously, follow to Evangelion Wiki,

The collective grouping has no distinct canonical name, although the phrase "Adam"s children" was offered by Misato in a preliminary draft for illustration 25"

written together 「アダムの子供達」 (Adamu no Kodomotachi), definition "children that Adam."

According come,

the indigenous "Angel" was preserved in the English variation of the display at the inquiry of the show"s Japanese creators

but they administer no citation for this claim. They note that in an early proposal pitch, the word 「アポストロ」(aposutoro) was suggested.

While apostle are clearly human vice versa, angels room supernatural, words "apostle" is obtained from the Greek indigenous ἀπόστολος (apóstolos) which method "messenger" (broken personal is "from" + "I send"). The Japanese「使徒」(shito) broken apart is "messenger" + "person" (same kanji as「使う」<tsukau> an interpretation "use" or "speak"). The special capacity of Apostle allows the wielder to walk to a new place, preach the good News there, and also plant new church communities with much more ease than an additional disciple that doesn"t possess the gifting would be able to do. The English indigenous "angel" is obtained from the Greek ἄγγελος (ángelos) an interpretation "messenger." together you note, the Japanese 「天使」(tenshi) is precise "heaven" + "messenger." therefore etymologically we watch that the Japanese words「使徒」and 「天使」 both display the idea the sent-ness for the purpose of transferring a message.