A key feature of the virulence of many bacterial pathogens is the ability to deliver effector proteins into eukaryotic cells via a dedicated type three secretion system (T3SS). Many bacterial pathogens, including species of Chlamydia, Xanthomonas, Pseudomonas, Ralstonia, Shigella, Salmonella, Escherichia and Yersinia, depend on the T3SS to cause disease. T3SS effectors constitute a large and diverse group of virulence proteins that mimic eukaryotic proteins in structure and function. A salient feature of bacterial effectors is their modular architecture, comprising domains or motifs that confer an array of subversive functions within the eukaryotic cell. These domains/motifs therefore represent a fascinating repertoire of molecular determinants with important roles during infection. This review provides a snapshot of our current understanding of bacterial effector domains and motifs where a defined role in infection has been demonstrated.