What's in the Palin children's names? Fish, for one
BY RICH SCHAPIRO
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, August 31st 2008, 12:36 AM
Bristol. Piper. Track. Willow. Trig.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has bestowed unusual names on her five children - but they're full of personal meaning.
A dedicated runner, she named her older son Track because he was born during that sport's season 18 years ago.
Her youngest is 4-month-old Trig Paxson, whose first name is Norse for "true" or "strength" and whose middle name comes from one of his mother's favorite spots in Alaska.
Her three daughters are Bristol, 17, Willow, 14, and Piper, 7.
Palin said the eldest girl was named after Bristol Bay, where the family fishes.
She hasn't explained the other girls' names, but there's a town in Alaska called Willow and Piper brings to mind the Piper Super Cub, a bush plane popular in her state.
Experts said the offbeat names suggest Palin is an outside-the-box thinker who desperately wants to give her kids an edge.
"A lot of times when parents choose unusual names they're looking to make their children stand out above the crowd," said Albert Mehrabian, a professor emeritus of psychology at UCLA and author of the book "The Baby Name Report Card."
Mehrabian said the selection of Track and Trig shows that Palin wants her boys to grow up to be full of machismo.
"Short names like these are given by people who want their kids to be masculine," Mehrabian said. "She's athletic, she's coached kids, so maybe that's part of her value system."
Willow is an earthy, feminine name, while Piper is more adventurous, the experts said. Bristol is in line with a modern tradition of naming people after places.
Together, the five names stunned one maven.
"In my 20 years in the field and after writing nine baby-name books, I gotta say [she] stumped the master," said Pamela Satran, co-author of the book "The Baby Name Bible.
"I've never heard of those."