Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rumble v.1

1. (UK Und.) to pickpocket, to steal.

[UK]G. Stevens ‘A Cant Song’ Muses Delight 177: The darbies I dread not, death’s common to all / Those that rumble in rattlers or pad the Mall.
[UK]D. Haggart Autobiog. 15: I was rumbling the cloys [...] the farmer rose lighter by L.23 and a pocket-book. [Ibid.] 66: I [...] got into his room, and rumbled his swag of all the dross that was in it.
[US] ‘Scene in a London Flash-Panny’ Matsell Vocabulum 100: Come, Bell, let us track the dancers and rumble the flats.
[UK]Cheltenham Chron. 4 Jan. 5/5: One of the ‘trial’ men [...] was ‘Jimmy the Rumbler’, whose ‘line’ was catching ‘green ’uns’.

2. to handle roughly, to rule out without any discussion.

[UK]Sporting Mag. XXXVII 128: Mr. Jekyll [...] was afraid that his client must consent to be rumbled out of Court .
[UK]Sporting Mag. XLVI 65: Croxey rumbled his antagonist in the first five rounds of the combat .

3. (Aus.) to obtain through deception; to deceive.

[Aus]W.H. Downing Digger Dialects 43: rumble — (1) Acquire by a trick; (2) effect a swindle.
[Aus](con. WWI) A.G. Pretty Gloss. Sl. [...] in the A.I.F. 1921–1924 (rev. t/s) n.p.: rumble. [...] To acquire by a trick, effect a swindle.

4. (US prison) to create a disturbance to distract one’s accomplices.

[US]H. Simon ‘Prison Dict.’ in AS VIII:3 (1933) 31/1: RUMBLE. To create a disturbance in order to distract attention from confederates while they are doing a job.

5. (UK army/US Und.) to spoil, to upset.

Jackson Dly News (MS) 1 Apr. 7/2: Crook Chatter [...] ‘Rumbling?’ ‘Yes, blundering, slipping up, muffing it’.
[UK]N&Q 12 Ser. IX 385: Rumble. Disturb, annoy, upset.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 71: Many a good job was ‘ranked’ or ‘rumbled’ (spoiled) because the gunpowder did not have sufficient explosive force.

6. (US tramp) to betray a friend.

[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 461: Rumble, To betray a pal.

7. to hit, to fight, esp. of teen gangs; thus rumbling n.

[US]C.S. Montanye ‘Death with Music’ in Thrilling Detective Feb. [Internet] Silk says he’s goin’ to the Tallyho to rumble with Andy Best.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Tomboy (1952) 40: If we rumble with the Roaches we’ve got them on our hands too.
[US]E. De Roo Big Rumble 108: If the Scratchers rumble on us, they go down on ’em. If the Scratchers rumble on them, we go down.
[US]R. De Christoforo Grease 71: ‘Hey, whadda the Scorpions doin’ here? This ain’t their territory,’ I said [...] ‘Think they want to rumble?’ Kenick asked.
[US]N. Heard House of Slammers 176: The black nationalist leader was in a rumbling mood.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 55: The whole emphasis in the streets on being able to rumble was rooted in respect.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Rev. 28 Jan. 15: Let’s get ready to rumble.
[UK]T. Black Gutted 209: Upwards of fifty jakeys [...] pished up and ready to rumble.

8. (drugs) to be searched by the police.

[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.