Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rumble n.1

[rumble v.2 (1)]

1. the act of discovery, usu. in the context of a crime.

[US]S.F. Chronicle 6 Mar. 3: When they are scared away from a job they ‘get a rumble.’.
[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 73: If you walk on the main stem you’ll get a rumble.
[US]F. Williams Hop-Heads 76: He got a ‘rumble,’ too [...] A ‘rumble’ is a complaint or arrest.
[US](con. 1905–25) E.H. Sutherland Professional Thief (1956) 166: During all that time we didn’t have a rumble.
[US]W.R. Burnett High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 331: Even if there’s a rumble and they make it stick, you may not have to do no time.
[US]J. Thompson Swell-Looking Babe 82: I’ve got to be sure that [...] you’ll come through without a rumble.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Syndicate (1998) 43: The sudden rumble undoubtedly threw the other guy off his bearings.

2. an alarm (during the course of a crime).

[US]Wash. Post 11 Nov. Miscellany 3/4: Potent with expression is the word ‘rap’ followed by the superlative ‘rumble,’ denoting danger.
[US]A.J. Barr Let Tomorrow Come 40: I meet a happy lookin’ dingbat an’ start to tell him the news, but I get a rumble from Dick.
[US]W.R. Burnett Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 197: If we get a rumble and the boys don’t see the car in the lot, they won’t stop.
[US]J. Thompson Getaway in Four Novels (1983) 64: You can’t use it [i.e. a gun]. You can’t make any kind of rumble.

3. a warning, a piece of information.

[US]Seattle Star 11 Nov. 8/3: Key to Broadway Slang! [...] He didn’t give you a rumble.
[US]D. Hammett ‘Assistant Murderer’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 138: ‘You’re sure she’s boosting, of course?’ [...] ‘Would I be giving you a bum rumble?’.
[US]E. Anderson Thieves Like Us (1999) 3: Any rumbles in town?
[US]A. Hynd We Are the Public Enemies 27: The Chicago cops had gotten a rumble.
[US]‘Blackie’ Audett Rap Sheet 29: Then we could rob the mail car without fear of a rumble from the next way station on the main line.

4. (US Und.) an accident, a problem.

[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 58: Not once during the two months [...] did we shoot a pete without a rumble (accident).

5. (US) a rumour.

[US]R. Prather Darling, It’s Death (2003) 57: I’d like to know if it shows up. You’re in a position where you should catch the rumble, maybe, and if you do, let me know fast.
[US]‘Curt Cannon’ ‘The Death of Me’ in I Like ’Em Tough (1958) 1094: The rumble’s out already.
[US]P. Rabe Murder Me for Nickels (2004) 86: He wanted to know what the rumble was. [Ibid.] 99: ‘And how did you know enough to worry about that mixer?’ ‘Rumor. Rumble. You know? You hear things.’.