In the weak measurement formalism of Y. Aharonov et al. the so-called weak value A_w of any observable A is generally a complex number. We derive a physical interpretation of its value in terms of the shift in the measurement pointer's mean position and mean momentum. In particular we show that the mean position shift contains a term jointly proportional to the imaginary part of the weak value and the rate at which the pointer is spreading in space as it enters the measurement interaction.
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