Two-dimensional (2D) materials have recently received a great deal of attention due to their unique structures and fascinating properties, as well as their potential applications. 2D hexagonal boron nitride (2D h-BN), an insulator with excellent thermal stability, chemical inertness, and unique electronic and optical properties, and a band gap of 5.97 eV, is considered to be an ideal candidate for integration with other 2D materials. Nevertheless, the controllable growth of high-quality 2D h-BN is still a great challenge. A comprehensive overview of the progress that has been made in the synthesis of 2D h-BN is presented, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of various synthesis approaches. In addition, the electronic, optical, thermal, and mechanical properties, heterostructures, and related applications of 2D h-BN are discussed.Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 61376007, 61674137) and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2016YFB0400802).