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In the section on magic items in the DMG, under Activating a Magic Item, it states:

Activating some magic items requires a user to do something in particular, such as holding the item and uttering a command word, reading the item if it is a scroll, or drinking it if it is a potion. The description of each item category or individual item details how an item is activated.

Further down, under Spells in the same section, it states:

Some magic items allow the user to cast a spell from the item, often by expending charges from it. The spell is cast at the lowest possible spell and caster level, doesn’t expend any of the user’s spell slots, and requires no components [emphasis mine] unless the item’s description says otherwise.

Note this emphasized text does not say material components, just components. That would suggest verbal and somatic components as well as material.

The general description of wands says nothing about command words, either:

A magic wand is about 15 inches long and crafted of metal, bone, or wood. It is tipped with metal, crystal, stone, or some other material.

Further, some wand descriptions specifically mention a command word. For example, the wand of enemy detection says:

This wand has 7 charges. While holding it, you can use an action and expend 1 charge to speak its command word [emphasis mine]. For the next minute, you know the direction of the nearest creature hostile to you . . .

So going by the tenet that in 5e, the specific overrides the general, all this would suggest wands no longer need a command word to function, unless otherwise stated. But this seems like a really strange change to make from previous editions, and I've scoured both the rest of the rules and the web to see if I missed something.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure if this is a question about how wands work, or simply looking for someone to do a manual count of each published wand, whether or not they are activated by a word or not, and then comparing the have/have nots. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 28 '20 at 18:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ And welcome to our stack! Please take the tour to learn more about how we operate and you can also visit the help center for more information.. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 28 '20 at 18:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm still unsure as to your reasoning/question. Are you just asking for confirmation that most wands in 5e don't require activation words? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 28 '20 at 19:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch, by "reasoning," I just mean, "based on what I have found to date in the RAW, it appears wands by default no longer require command words. In other words, I have reasoned out that wands no longer require these based on all the block-quoted sections I listed in the original post. Is that reasoning sound? The answer clearly is yes. \$\endgroup\$ – TSRThomas Oct 28 '20 at 20:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TSRThomas I’m no longer sure what you’re asking here. I’m voting to close until there is further clarity. In the question you just seem to be asking if you have observed correctly that most wands don’t require activation words, but in comments you seem to be asking why this is the case. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Oct 28 '20 at 21:15
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The wand's description tells us how to use it.

This is clear from the rules you quoted:

Some magic items allow the user to cast a spell from the item, often by expending charges from it. The spell is cast at the lowest possible spell and caster level, doesn’t expend any of the user’s spell slots, and requires no components unless the item’s description says otherwise.

Presently, only one wand in D&D 5e material requires a command word for activation, the Wand of Enemy Detection:

This wand has 7 charges. While holding it, you can use an action and expend 1 charge to speak its command word.

This is the only wand that explicitly requires activation via a command word. This is confirmed by observing this search at DnDBeyond.

Every other wand says something like:

you can use an action to expend 1 of its charges.

As David Coffron noted in the comments, the rules make no special provisions for wands with respect to command words, so these wands do not require use of a command word to activate.

This covers all official D&D 5e material.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It is clear from what I posted. What I wanted to make sure of was that there was no other information that contradicted this elsewhere in the rules, i.e., a specific statement that contradicts what I've reasoned out. I'm asking because it's very different from previous editions of the rules. \$\endgroup\$ – TSRThomas Oct 28 '20 at 19:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TSRThomas This answer is saying there isn't any specific rules; and I, at least, concur (+1). \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Oct 28 '20 at 19:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could add that the chapter on Magic Items in the Basic Rules makes no special rules for wands. Also, the rules for command words make no special delegation regarding wands either. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Oct 28 '20 at 19:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TSRThomas Yep, am a D&D and AD&D vet from way back; the lack of command words struck me as well in this edition. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 28 '20 at 20:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ As I mentioned above, it doesn't sound like anyone knows of other information that would contradict what I have cited, so the answer does indeed seem to be, wands no longer require command words unless otherwise noted in their descriptions. Thanks for all the responses, everyone. \$\endgroup\$ – TSRThomas Oct 28 '20 at 20:55

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