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The inverse Higgs phenomenon, which plays an important rôle in physical systems with Goldstone bosons (such as the phonons in a crystal) involves nonholonomic mechanical constraints. By formulating field theories with symmetries and constraints in a general way using the language of differential geometry, we show that many examples of constraints in inverse Higgs phenomena fall into a special class, which we call coholonomic constraints, that are dual (in the sense of category theory) to holonomic constraints. Just as for holonomic constraints, systems with coholonomic constraints are equivalent to unconstrained systems (whose degrees of freedom are known as essential Goldstone bosons), making it easier to study their consistency and dynamics. The remaining examples of inverse Higgs phenomena in the literature require the dual of a slight generalisation of a holonomic constraint, which we call (co)meronomic. Our formalism simplifies and clarifies the many ad hoc assumptions and constructions present in the literature. In particular, it identifies which are necessary and which are merely convenient. It also opens the way to studying much more general dynamical examples, including systems which have no well-defined notion of a target space.