What slang expressions can I use to express "Where are you guys?" in a single word? I am looking for a very short, informal phrase or a single word I could use to ask this question that would still be recognizable to an English-speaking person.
Questions that we use for greetings often get eroded to a single word, like whassup for “What's up?” and howdy for “How do you do?” This happens to a lesser extent with very common questions like “Where are you?” so you might hear somebody shorten it to whereyat? in rapid speech. It's not common enough for people to consider it an established slang term, but people would recognize it as eye dialect if you wrote it that way in the dialogue of a story, for example.
Another thing to note about words like whassup and howdy is that they tend to lose the force of a question as they turn into one-word catchphrases. This happens with greetings in general – people don't generally expect an answer to questions like “How are you?” – but it's exacerbated as the questions erode into slang words. In particular, you're more likely to see “Howdy!” written with an exclamation mark rather than a question mark. I don't think whereyat? is currently in danger of this, but if it became a more common greeting or catchphrase, I suspect it'd suffer the same fate.
The best I can think of is "Guys?" The rising tone suggested by the question mark indicates that one of several obvious questions is being asked. Guys, where are you? Guys, is that you? Guys, what are you doing?
I am not aware of a single word that fits your need that would be universally understood. Slang like this varies a lot by dialect. I've known plenty of people who would understand such one word questions as:
- 'Sup? and 'Suppichu?
- 'Jeet? (usually actually two words, 'Jeet yet?)
- Whuryat? and even 'Yat?
But all of these require at least a mental context. I would recognize "'Yat?" from someone I knew was likely to look for me, or knew to speak with a southern or rural dialect, but I wouldn't expect even myself to always understand it, let along all English speakers.
I also know people who have borrowed the police code "10-20" into the slang "What's your twenty?" and then shortened it to just "20?" but I certainly would not expect most people to understand that.
If you have a particular group of friends in mind, you could try both of these suggestions and see what happens. You could also consciously create a new one, which has the benefit of being useful for finding friends in a crowd, where you want to only ask the people you know. Similar to the Marco? / Polo! idiom mentioned above, I have one group of friends who will call out "Yarvis?" and another that calls out "Ruh-roh!"