Atomically thin boron nitride (BN) is an important two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterial, with many properties distinct from graphene. In this feature article, these unique properties and associated applications often not possible from graphene are outlined. The article starts with characterization and identification of atomically thin BN. It is followed by demonstrating their strong oxidation resistance at high temperatures and applications in protecting metals from oxidation and corrosion. As flat insulators, BN nanosheets are ideal dielectric substrates for surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and electronic devices based on 2D heterostructures. The light emission of BN nanosheets in the deep ultraviolet (DUV) and ultraviolet (UV) regions are also included for its scientific and technological importance. The last part is dedicated to synthesis, characterization, and optical properties of BN nanoribbons, a special form of nanosheets.