Yes, this is pretty much exactly how we can guess the meaning of new words, by examining the prefixes, roots, and suffixes. For example:
- sub-: Latin prefix meaning below, beneath
- terra: Latin root meaning earth, land, ground
- -ean: Latin suffix that forms adjectives, often from proper nouns.
We can therefore make the educated guess that "subterranean* is an adjective that means living or existing below ground. Example:
Many of the lakes are connected by subterranean channels, and a change in the surface of one lake is often accompanied by a change in the surface of another.
Keep in mind this only works for certain English words, usually those derived from Latin or Greek. Many common English words are derived from Old Norse or Old German, and may not follow the same patterns.
Additionally, English includes thousands of "borrowed" (more like stolen) words from languages around the world, for which there is no pattern: souvenir, guerrilla, hibachi, chocolate, typhoon, assassin, and many, many more
Relevant: A List of 30 Common Word Roots in English