Plant pathogens have evolved a variety of different strategies that allow them to successfully infect their hosts. Plant-parasitic nematodes secrete numerous proteins into their hosts. These proteins, called effectors, have various functions in the plant cell. The most studied effectors to date are the plant cell wall degrading enzymes, which have an interesting evolutionary history since they are believed to have been acquired from bacteria or fungi by horizontal gene transfer. Extensive genome, transcriptome and proteome studies have shown that plant-parasitic nematodes secrete many additional effectors. The function of many of these is less clear although during the last decade, several research groups have determined the function of some of these effectors. Even though many effectors remain to be investigated, it has already become clear that they can have very diverse functions. Some are involved in suppression of plant defences, while others can specifically interact with plant signalling or hormone pathways to promote the formation of nematode feeding sites. In this review, the most recent progress in the understanding of the function of plant-parasitic nematode effectors is discussed.