Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rumble n.2

[rumble v.1 ; but note 14–18C SE rumble, a commotion, an uproar]

1. sexual intercourse.

[UK](con. 1948–52) L. Thomas Virgin Soldiers 39: If you fancy it you get ’er to take you ’ome and give you a rumble.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 65: I’d turn down a rumble with a luscious broad to go to the track or a poker game.

2. (US) a street gang fight.

[US]Amer. Mercury Apr. 480: We’re going to have a rumble with the Happy Gents tonight. Gang kids call these fights rumbles .
[US]Time 4 Dec. 40/3: Each gang had a [...] war counselor who arranged the time and place for gang ‘rumbles’ (wars).
[US]Laurents & Sondheim West Side Story I i: A rumble!
[US](con. 1953–7) L. Yablonsky Violent Gang (1967) 28: Some boys used racial or ethnic discrimination as a reason for ‘calling on the rumble’ with the Jesters.
[US](con. 1960s) R. Price Wanderers 10: The other gangs had a few rumbles, every once in a while some guy would have his jaw busted.
[UK]D. Hebdige Cut ’n’ Mix 139: In the Zulu Nation he set out to replace ‘rumbles’ (fights) and drugs with rap, dance and hip hop style.
[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 33: He lives for rumours about supposed rumbles.
OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. [Internet] rumble n. fight. Often involving more than two people. Sometimes for fun, often more serious.

3. a fight; an argument.

[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 313: They had let the 26-girls cheat them without a rumble.
[US]C. Himes Rage in Harlem (1969) 87: I wasn’t back there when the rumble happened.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 13: It means a rumble is on, and a big one, too.
[US]Edwardsville Intelligencer (IL) 30 Mar. 2/3: Informers are [...] ‘done in’ sometimes during a ‘rumble’ or fight.
[UK]A. Payne ‘You Need Hands’ in Minder [TV script] 47: I’ve run into those two young chancers I had a rumble with.
[UK]‘Q’ Deadmeat 31: He’d got into a rumble with some Eyetalian nightclub owners.
[US]G. Pelecanos (con. 1972) What It Was 34: Race rumbles had gone the way of drop-down Chevys.

4. attrib. use of sense 3 .

[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 145: You had your rumble hat on and don’t bother telling me I’m wrong.

5. (US drugs) a police drug raid.

[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 159: Shake, Rumble . . . Search by the law.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.

6. (US campus) a wild party.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS.